Beyond Sanitary: Tips to Encourage a Healthier Kitchen Environment
by Melissa Bullard
Face Your Kitchen Columnist
Remodeling your kitchen or refacing your kitchen cabinets is an excellent time to consider ways to keep your kitchen healthier. Of course, there are basic measures you can take to keep your kitchen sanitary, including using different cutting boards for raw meats and vegetables and using an eco-friendly, non-hazardous cleaner on your countertops, but there are also some ways to pursue healthier kitchen environment after a refacing job.
Tips for Healthier Kitchen Air
- Choose refacing materials wisely. If you are replacing your cabinets, look for those that don't emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or for those that are classified as low-emitting. Particleboard and many kitchen cabinet sealants contain VOCs such as formaldehyde, which give off fumes at room temperature, continuing to release small quantities of toxic fumes even years after they are installed. If you are refacing your cabinets, choose a low-VOC-emitting sealant.
- Invest in a new range hood. While this may not be necessary for all kitchen refacing or remodeling jobs, it's worth looking into because it can have a direct impact on your kitchen's air quality. If you have a ductless system, it may be difficult to replace it with a range hood with a duct system, but it is worth it. Ductless systems filter the smoky, greasy air of your kitchen and vent it back into the kitchen. Duct systems vent the air directly outdoors, leaving you with a better-smelling, healthier kitchen environment.
- Invest in some new floor-approporiate cleaning supplies. For example, if you have a tile floor, use an angled broom that is made with synthetic bristles, which trap more dust than a traditional broom. If you have wood floors, dry-mopping them every day with a microfiber cloth can keep dust at a minimum. It may take time, but it's worth it if someone in your house has dust allergies.
- Go easy when stocking your fridge and freezer. In addition to setting your fridge and freezer at the correct temperatures, make sure you don't overfill your compartments. Air circulation can help maintain the correct temperature. And wipe up any spills; just because food or drink is kept at cold or freezing temperatures doesn't mean it can't grow bacteria.
Kitchen health goes beyond what's in the food, in the sink, and on the counters. With just a few simple actions, you can make a big difference in your kitchen's air quality.
About the Author
Melissa Bullard earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, then a Master's Degree in Spanish Language and Literatures from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has taught writing, literature, and Spanish classes, and is currently working as a fre
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